Τρίτη, 31 Δεκεμβρίου 2013



Wat Phnom the eponym of Phnom Penh, Cambodia (in English: "Temple of the Mountains" or "Mountain Pagoda") is a Buddhist temple in the heart of the city. It was built in 1373, and stands on a mountain a whole 88.5 feet above the ground. Actually it is the tallest religious structure in the city. It is quite beautiful and relaxing.
The restaurant that serves up rejected food

Rub & Stub restaurant in Copenhagen is battling against waste - by serving up food that the supermarkets won't sell.
The restaurant offers meals made from vegetables and fruit rejected by the food industry because of sell-by dates and over-buying.
The restaurant has two paid employees - a project manager and head chef - but all the other staff are volunteers. It is funded by Danish charity Retro and profits go towards development projects in Sierra Leone.
Chef Ditte Jensen told BBC News why she believes it is possible to make delicious meals from rejected food.
Video production: Cameron Robertson
Stop/Start is a series of video features for the BBC News website which follows both new trends that are beginning and old traditions that are coming to an end.

Δευτέρα, 30 Δεκεμβρίου 2013


If you're not a fan of huge resorts and big hotels, then Isla Mujeres is the perfect getaway if you find yourself in the tourist trap of Cancun!
Just catch the ferry to the island located 13km to the northeast of Cancun. The ferry ride in itself if enjoyable as you float over shallow reefs and turquoise blue water.
Once on Isla Mujeres, I recommend staying near North Beach with its white sand and abundance of bungalow accommodations on the cheap! Be sure to rent bikes and pedal around the entire island and be sure to make your way to the lighthouse crawling with iguanas


Κυριακή, 29 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Indonesia’s Youngest Fashion Designer

Ten-year-old Rafi Ridwan was born deaf, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming one of Indonesia's youngest fashion designers. He's appeared at Jakarta Fashion Week and held a fashion show for his first childrenswear collection, where all the models on the catwalk were either deaf or autistic.
Producers: Mahatma Putra
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Pussy Riot Is No Longer a Band

The two released but unrepentant members of Pussy Riot said in a press conference today that the Russian punk-protest band is breaking up.
“We are not Pussy Riot now,” Nadya Tolokonnikova said.
“We can promote our cause without playing any shows,” Maria Alyokhina added. “And we will never play any shows for money.”
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina will continue to work together, forming a crowd-funded prisoners' rights organization with activist Alexsei Navalny on the board, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The women were serving two-year sentences (in horrifying conditions) for their anti-Putin performance in a Moscow cathedral but were released this week under a new amnesty bill, which they have dismissed as a pre-Olympics PR campaign.
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina will limit their artistic activities to inmates because Russia's prisons are so bad that they require a “cultural revolution,” they said, and probably because when you call yourself a band you’re stuck doing interviews like this one with opposition "It" girl Ksenia Sobchak. Sobchak asked if Tolokonnikova, as the prettiest Pussy Riot member, was the Beyoncé of the group, bound to go solo, and, if so, was that sexist? Eye-roll gifs aplenty at Buzzfeed.


Ένα σκιάχτρο καλλιεργεί έναν καλύτερο κόσμο. Ένα φίλμ από τη βραβευμένη με 'Οσκαρ ομάδα των Moonbot Studios


Σάββατο, 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Five over-the-top treehouse hotels

Special, secluded and surprisingly luxurious, treehouses are no longer just for kids. Here are five wooden creations for grown-ups to lay claim to.
Châteaux dans les Arbes, France: The fairytale one
As if a secluded hideaway in the trees wasn’t enough of a childhood dream come true, at Châteaux dans les Arbes in the Dordogne, the leafy abodes are also miniature castles. Housed around the former moat of a ruined stronghold, the three creations are the handiwork of veteran treehouse-builder Rémi, who modelled them on (and named them after) nearby châteaux. From ‘Monbazillac’, with its steep turrets, to ‘Hautefort’, which has wooden spires, a footbridge and even an inner courtyard, they’re certainly deserving of their ‘château’ monicker.
Sydney fish market at Christmas – in pictures

Thousands of Sydneysiders are expected to snap up more than 650 tonnes of seafood from the fish market at Pyrmont in the leadup to Christmas. The market will be open for 36 hours straight until 5pm on Christmas Eve

The new Nordic food frontier

There's more to Danish cuisine than Noma. Out in the north Atlantic, Michael Booth finds a new Nordic frontier as Faroe Islands chefs raise traditional foods to new levels of pleasure

Stories / The Guardian

This short video OpenDesk - a revolution in furniture design, by Oliver Wainwright who is The Guardian newspaper's Architecture & Design Critic, shows the Edie Stool being produced at I.J. CNC Services and discusses the thinking behind the design — and OpenDesk's model of open making.

Τετάρτη, 25 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Norway's Ice Music Festival – video

The world's only festival of ice music, will be held in Geilo, Norway, January 16-19, 2014. At last year's festival, we followed the process as sculptors and musicians made the instruments from lake ice, recorded the otherwordly sounds they produce and captured the final haunting performances in a purpose-built auditorium made out of snow
Star Wars trucks, luminous flying pigs: World's most spectacular Xmas lights
By Sarah Brown and Jenny Soffel,

(CNN) -- Some people like Christmas. Some people love Christmas. And some people are so overcome by their love for the holiday season they decorate homes, gardens, even their vehicles in decorations so spectacular you have to worry about their energy bills.
CNN asked people across the world to send in the most stunning and outrageous Christmas displays they had seen. We received submissions from the Dominican Republic to Russia, all of which displayed the inventiveness of people during the holiday season.
The U.S., of course, is where outrageous Christmas displays have been elevated to an art form. Robert Ondrovic's image of his neighbor Kevin Lynch's house in Queens, New York, shows a house so festooned with lights and decorations it's hard to make out the front door. Lynch, a retired firefighter, reportedly used more than 300,000 lights and 350 figurines.
"I was amazed at the display, including the total amount of lights and figurines," Ondrovic said. "Plus, Kevin plays Christmas music outdoors."

Τρίτη, 24 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

1964 in LIFE Magazine Covers: Looking Ahead to 50 Years Ago

There’s something alluring about big, round anniversaries. People just can’t seem to get enough of them. On the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, for example, virtually every media outlet in the United States — and more than a few overseas — responded with tributes, photos, videos and analysis. Even less-significant round anniversaries — say, the 40th anniversary of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic 1973 tour of China — often garner a remarkable amount of attention.
Here, on the cusp of 2014, LIFE.com has chosen to “look ahead to 50 years ago,” through LIFE magazine covers from 1964. While not nearly as momentous as other dates from that tumultuous decade (1963 and 1968 come readily to mind), 1964 was, like any other year, nevertheless filled with events, personalities, triumphs and tragedies that, to greater or lesser degrees, still resonate today. From the release of the classic 007 movie, Goldfinger, to the emergence of a brash young fighter named Cassius Clay; from the first rumblings of Beatlemania and the British Invasion to America’s deepening entanglement in Southeast Asia and Vietnam, LIFE covers at the time provided readers with a sort of weekly visual tally of the year’s significant people and moments.
Here, with the 50th anniversary of that long-ago year looming just over the horizon, LIFE.com offers a series of LIFE covers that capture the look and feel of the era, from the landmark World’s Fair in New York to the pop-culture revolution embodied in the Fab Four.

Δευτέρα, 23 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Vegan Style

“Eco-Leather” Made From Plant Oils is a Fashion Game-Changer
by Bridgette Meinhold

Tanning leather is a toxic endeavor and also quite fatal for animals, but a new alternative bio-based leather promises to be more environmentally friendly. Richard Wool, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Delaware has been working on an eco-leather alternative made from natural fibers and oils. Flax or cotton is plant oils and laminated together in layers to create a breathable, leather-like material. Companies like Puma, Adidas and Nike are working with samples and with Wool to begin using the product and offer more vegan options.
Top Burgers in NYC
By Zagat Staff
From fancy steakhouse versions to revolutionary fast-food iterations, the classic burger may be an American classic, but it gets a distinctly New York treatment here. Presenting the best spots in the city for this iconic staple.
Beginners' Christmas

Preparing your first Christmas dinner can be daunting, but fear not! Here's a feast for eight that ticks all the right boxes - and it's a breeze to make!

Air-con vs. authenticity: Going rustic on a Cyprus village stay

Editor's note: CNN's On the Road series brings you a greater insight into the customs and culture of Cyprus. CNN.com explores the places, the people and the passions unique to this eastern Mediterranean island.
(CNN) -- The other tourists were boarding air-conditioned coaches on their way to the island's legendary seaside resorts.
Not me.
Their gleaming buses pulled away from the airport forecourt to reveal a chap with a huge mustache waiting by a tatty taxi at the back of the car park.
This must be my own "transfer arrangement," I realized.
Most passengers on my flight at Larnaca Airport were on classic package deals to hotels and apartments in Limassol or Ayia Napa.
I was heading, however, for a simple village house in the mountains for what had been advertised as "a taste of the real Cyprus."
The others had been met by prim tour reps armed with clipboards.
I was met by Stavros, who cleverly used his only word of English to direct me into the car while simultaneously stubbing out his mangled roll-up.
"Pleeeese ..." he grinned.
"Pleeese," he said again, setting off immediately at startling speed.

Κυριακή, 22 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Tunis cake with a Madeira base by Mary Berry at Christmas on The Great British Bake off Christmas Special

Dominique Ansel

Dominique Ansel is the chef and owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. Since its opening in November of 2011, the chef’s eponymous bakery was awarded Time Out New York’s “Best New Bakery of 2012” and Metromix’s “Best Bakery of 2012”, all within four months of opening its doors. Today, it is also Zagat 2013’s highest ranked bakery and listed as one of the Best Bakeries in the U.S. by Daily Meal.
Video:How to Make Classic British Christmas Cake

Want to learn how to make a classic British Christmas cake at home? Watch this About.com video to see instructions for baking one on your own.

The Aerophile : What are the characteristics of this area?
The Geographer : This is the plain of
Alsace, one of the most beautiful regions of France and also one of the least windy because it is protected by the Vosges. It is logical that B612 and its satellites have chosen this place to land. The region is very sunny and perfect to contemplate the stars at night. They will be protected from wind and rain by the surrounding mountains, like a nest. The landscape is very beautiful with, to the West the Vosges Mountains, to the East the Black Forest, to the South the Alps and to the North the Plains.
By whom is it inhabited?
The Geographer: The site is located in the department of Haut Rhin, a few kilometers away from Switzerland and Germany, in the heart of Europe. It is easily accessible by highways; the TGV from Mulhouse is 15 mn away by car and there is a train from the Bâle Mulhouse airport. The region is inhabited by the Alsatians, a proud and united people, who transmitted from generation to generation their traditions by building the Ecomusée of Alsace with 72 houses from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, saved from destruction by a group of volunteers. Maybe the Little Prince wants to do some sightseeing…
Who is actually on site?
The site is currently devoid of any human presence and totally inaccessible but some foxes, sheep and butterflies enjoy its 25 hectares in peace.


Σάββατο, 21 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Top Restaurant Dishes of 2013

Bacon Beets
How do you get people to eat their vegetables? Add bacon. Most chefs realize this, but Paul Liebrandt of The Elm in Williamsburg amps up the flavor even more, tossing a rainbow-colored assortment of beets with a funky, fishy, XO sauce. If Liebrandt hawked that condiment streetside, he'd be rich.
Reversing Aging: Not as Crazy as You Think

Harvard researchers find a new compound that can make old cells young again

What makes cells age? Wear and tear, yes. But biologically, says, Dr. David Sinclair, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, it’s lack of oxygen that signals cells that it’s their time to go. Without oxygen, the energy engines known as the mitochondria become less efficient at turning physiological fuel like glucose into the energy that the cells need to function. Eventually, they shut down.
But in a paper published in the journal Cell, Sinclair and his colleagues describe for the first time a compound naturally made by young cells that was able to revive older cells and make them energetic and youthful again. In an experiment in mice, the team found that giving older mice a chemical called NAD for just one week made 2-year-old-mice tissue resemble that of 6-month-old mice (in human years, that would be akin to a 60-year-old’s cells becoming more like those belonging to a 20-year-old).
As mammals age, says Sinclair, levels of NAD drop by 50%; with less of the compound, the communication between the cell and its mitochondrial energy source also falters, and the cell becomes vulnerable to common aging assaults — inflammation, muscle wasting and slower metabolism. By tricking the cell into thinking it’s young again, with adequate amounts of NAD, aging can theoretically be reversed. “When we give the molecule, the cells think oxygen levels are normal and everything revs back up again,” Sinclair says.
While NAD may be a key to the fountain of youth, Sinclair, who also investigated the anti-aging effects of the red-wine compound resveratrol, isn’t ready to say that the chemical could lead to immortal cells. “I wouldn’t take it that far,” he says. “What makes reversing aging interesting is that it could buy more time than we are currently looking at.”
His next step is to put NAD in the drinking water of his mice, and see if they take longer to develop the typical chronic diseases linked to aging, such as inflammation, muscle wasting, cancer and diabetes. The pathway may become an important target for cancer researchers as well, since tumors typically grow in low-oxygen conditions and are more common in older patients.
Because NAD is a naturally occurring compound that simply declines with age, Sinclair is optimistic that boosting its levels in people won’t have as many significant adverse effects as introducing an entirely new compound might. “If a body is slowly falling apart and losing the ability to regulate itself effectively, we can get it back on track to what it was in its 20s and 30s,” he says.
At least that’s the hope.

I am a shoe

A closer look at how a sports shoe is manufactured and distributed in what is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Our first (!) comment:

Our civilisation all over  the world must provide  for everybody education and communication,combined with the traditional values of each country.Nomads have  their own education and with communication will be helped to continue  their culture with knowledge and no fear.
  Once a Nomad

Can a Namibian tech entrepreneur enhance the lives of nomadic Himba people through his app?

You cannot be more isolated than Namibia's Himba people, a nomadic tribe, following their cattle herds around the harsh, arid landscape of northern Namibia.
They do not wear western clothes, preferring traditional attire and striking hairstyles. Most Himba cannot read or write, and yet they do use mobile phones - often travelling for days to try and decipher a text. Even basic education is a problem for people who are always on the move, poor signal strength is another obstacle.
The Himba want to able to hold onto their traditional way of life but they also want to be able to understand and interact with the settled society.
They are dubious that a life app can help, but Windhoek-based mobile software developer Dalton wants to try.
The Namibian tech entrepreneur visits the nomadic Himba people for the first time to see if an application could enhance their lives. So can Dalton build an app to help the illiterate and isolated Himba people market their goods and communicate more effectively?
12 of the world's most spectacular Christmas trees
By Tamara Hinson, for CNN
(CNN) -- Twinkly lights and tinsel?

That's so last Christmas.
Christmas trees don't have to be traditional to look spectacular.
In fact, some of the most memorable ones this year are anything but.
How about a Christmas tree made from Lego?
Or macaroons?
Even the odder entrants in this selection of the world's most amazing Christmas trees on public display tend to be big and bright.
And there are still plenty of sparkly stars to be found and photographed.
They're just much bigger and much brighter than the ones on the tree in your living room.
1. Vilnius Christmas tree (Lithuania)
The well-preserved old town in the Lithuanian capital looks like just the sort of place that needs a Christmas tree.
Now it's got one -- in fact, at 25 meters, the tallest Christmas tree in the Balkans.
Well, "tree" -- it's actually a metal skeleton covered with fir tree branches.
Lithuanian fir tree branches, though -- they're not made in China.
Vilnius Christmas Tree, Cathedral Square, Vilnius, Lithuania

Σάββατο, 7 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Gorgeous 15th-Century Church Renovated as a Modern Bookstore in The Netherlands

This gorgeous 15th century Dominican church was renovated into a modern-day bookstore in the Dutch city of Zwolle. Utrecht-based BK. Architecten designed a 700-square-meter shopping area on three added floors that can be removed in the future without damaging the existing building. The modern stained glass windows, designed by Norwegian artist Kjell Nupen, allow natural light to enter the interior and provide customers with a clear view of the entire area

Παρασκευή, 6 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Santa and the 'Shrooms: The Real Story Behind the "Design" of Christmas

Most people think of Santa Claus and the cheery red and white we decorate with at Christmas as little more than lighthearted fun and pretty colors. But the real story behind that Christmas look that takes over the Western world at this time of year is a bit… shall we say, darker. Or at least way, way more tripped-out. Read on to find out about the psychedelic and mystical roots of the Santa Claus myth and the traditional Christmas decorating scheme!
Gluten-free bhajis with a dairy-free mango and mint dip
Party season snack tables are rarely a place of plenty if you have a free-from diet – but here's a fresh, winning combo

December is party season, but there's often a frustrating lack of snacks if you can't have pastry or pork products. Indian snacks can be a good option because samosas and bhajis are traditionally made with gram flour, though it is becoming more difficult to find versions that don't also include wheat flour. These bhajis are gluten-free, and when served with the tangy dairy-free mango and mint dip create a compelling party combination, suitable for a host of free-from needs. If you need to save time, everything can be made the day before and the bhajis reheated as necessary.
Makes 15-20
For the bhajis
300g cauliflower
2 medium leeks
1 tbsp olive oil
100g gram (chickpea) flour
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
A pinch of salt
80ml water
2 tsp mango chutney
2 tsp tomato puree
Olive oil for drizzling
For the dip
100g plain soya yoghurt
Half a mango
1 tbsp mango chutney
5 fresh mint leaves

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Wash and prepare the cauliflower and leeks. Dice the cauliflower into tiny pieces; cut the leeks lengthwise and then into thin slices. Fry gently in the olive oil for 5 minutes until the vegetables are just soft.
2 Put the gram flour, spices and salt in a bowl. Add the water, chutney and tomato puree and mix to a smooth paste. Add the fried vegetables and stir until everything is well coated.
3 Drizzle olive oil across a baking tray and distribute it evenly across the tray with a spoon. Dollop the bhaji mix on the tray 1 tbsp at a time. Flatten them a little with the back of a spoon. Drizzle a little more oil over the top.
4 Bake for 10-15 minutes until they brown a little. Take the tray from the oven, move the tray from side to side to redistribute the oil, and then flip each bhaji over using a fish slice. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until well browned and glistening. The bhajis can be eaten hot or cold.
5 Make the dip by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and whizzing with a stick blender. Refrigerate for up to a day before serving, if necessary.
What to watch out for
Some mango chutneys contain malt vinegar, so read the labels carefully before choosing if this is something you need to avoid.
48 Hours In: Tallinn

Why go now?

Tallinn in the snow is a marvel to behold. The Estonian capital's magnificently preserved medieval Old Town shimmers at this time of the year, particularly the Town Hall Square (1), which hosts the city's Christmas Market (christmasmarket.ee; until 8 January). The tradition of having a Christmas tree in the square dates as far back as 1441, while the market is a relatively new phenomenon. Yuletide trinkets and food can be bought at around 50 stalls.

Πέμπτη, 5 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Voodoo dances and mystic trances: Five African festivals you can't miss

 (CNN) -- There is always a reason to party, and Africa, with its rich cultural diversity, could be described as a festival continent. But while music festivals like Mali's Festival au Desert and Morocco's Mawazine are well known to international travelers, Africa offers much more, celebrating everything from rose harvests to religious saints.
CNN takes a look at five African festivals you shouldn't miss.
Maralal International Camel Derby -- Kenya
Every year in August, the little township of Maralal in Kenya's Samburu district comes alive. This is where the International Maralal Camel Derby is held -- a competition between both professional and amateur camel jockeys.
Read more: Lagos photo festival puts mega city in the spotlight
Insider Guide: Best of Budapest
More than just the merger of Buda and Pest, the Pearl of the Danube is also the cultural crossroads of Europe's east and west

Budapest usually comes as a sweet surprise to travelers, who don’t quite know what expect before visiting this city of 1.7 million.
With the wide Danube winding through its center, one of Europe’s most stunning skylines and plenty of fabulous architecture lining the Buda and Pest sides of the river, Budapest can justly claim to be one of Europe’s prettiest cities.
In many ways it’s still in transition.
It has made so much progress over the past two and a half decades since the fall of the Iron Curtain, yet everywhere there are unmistakable signs that still better things are yet to come.
The din of major construction and restoration projects is ever-present.
The local fashion and design scene has taken off, and of course there’s the food.
Hungarian cuisine is worth traveling for, and the restaurants in Budapest -- from the traditional to the Michelin-starred -- are still a relative bargain.
Luckily the country also produces equally fine wine to pair with the food.
There’s no better place to start than with the best of Budapest.

Are there too many 'German' Christmas markets?
These tourists’ favorites have steamed through Europe and beyond -- but now they risk losing their traditional heart

Germany’s most successful recent export may be not a sleek new luxury saloon car or top of the line dishwasher, but something more down-to-earth: the Christmas market.
German-themed markets have steamed through Europe and beyond, leaving in their wake the debris of abandoned indigenous traditions and the lingering scent of gingerbread and mulled wine.
In Britain, clusters of Alpine-ish huts selling wooden toys, wurst and warm booze have become regular fixtures in London and other cities from Birmingham to Belfast.
"Frohe Weihnacht!” reads the glazed scrawl on a gingerbread morsel from one of the market's websites -- nary a sign of the more location-specific “Merry Christmas!”
Britain’s tabloid newspapers would surely be scrambling for puns rhyming with “huns” if only half their readers didn’t no doubt love this change from their standard Christmas fare.
Whereas previously a typical British festive season meant a department store splurge, a quick squeeze on “Santa’s” knee and a bout of indigestion, now you can be transported to a sweet-smelling seasonal wonderland after only a dawdle down to the town square.
Christmas nut roast taste test: the turkey farmer tucks in
Paul Kelly has been breeding turkeys for nearly half a century – so what would he make of the nut roasts and other festive veggie options?

Paul Kelly is a turkey man through and through. He's been breeding free range Kelly Bronze turkeys in Essex since he was six years old, so has clocked up 44 years of turkey farming. His father was a turkey farmer before him; his children will, he hopes, become turkey farmers. Christmas day without turkey in the Kelly household is unthinkable.
Now bring on the veggie roast. For thousands of stressed Christmas cooks catering for family members with a variety of demands, this vegetarian alternative is an easy fix that complements the rest of Christmas dinner. And there's more choice than ever, as producers compete for the centrepiece with substitute meat products and different takes on the traditional nut roast. But which of them are worthy of that place? Paul seemed the toughest judge we could think of to put them to the test. "Nut roasts," he said. "What are they, stuffing?" Perfect.

Τετάρτη, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Jack Monroe's budget Christmas

A fish starter followed by baked ham and a tasty casserole, with fruit tarts for pudding. This Finnish-inspired menu is easy to prepare, costs under £2.50 per person and is delicious
The past few Christmases have been a struggle in which I focused on making ends meet rather than splurging on a big feast. But the upside is that I've realised I don't want the traditional things I used to think were essential – a turkey that won't fit in the oven, pigs in blankets ... the list goes on. I'm more interested in making new traditions with lovely, simple food. For this year's menu, I've taken inspiration from Finland, where they always have an eye-catching ham on the Christmas table, and maksalaatikko – a sultana and liver casserole. (Don't go! As the Finns know, this isn't just nutritious and cheap, it's also meltingly delicious – try it.)

Τρίτη, 3 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

A foodie autumn break in Abruzzo, Italy

Italians say the best pecorino cheese is made from the milk of sheep that graze in wild places. I had no doubt that this was the case with the pale, aromatic slice I ate for breakfast, alongside a spoonful of pear conserve scented with saffron from crocuses grown in Gabriella's garden. There was also ricotta, homemade bread, cured meats and almost rudely ripe, intensely sweet persimmons from the tree we could see through the window.
As we were finishing our second coffee, Mario, who had clearly been up for hours, pulled up a chair and talked to us with such passion about their land and their oil – their lifeblood, he called it, matter-of-factly – that we wanted nothing more than to walk the land and taste its produce.

Create a Big Display with Small Bulbs

In our front garden, there is a bed that runs along the sidewalk. I love to fill it with spring-blooming bulbs every year — usually tulips. Because tulips don’t put on a good show after the first year, I treat them as annuals. Said another way, they make their way to the compost pile after they’ve bloomed.
I like to try new color combinations or just “something different.” It’s fun to pick out the bulbs, but planting takes a fair bit of time in the fall, when there are lots of other chores. There  have been years where I don’t get around to the bulb planting. Or maybe I get a little lazy.
This year I’ve decided on a more permanent solution. I have planted dozens of small bulbs that bloom early and come back reliably over the years. I might find that I have to refresh the display with a couple dozen new bulbs every fall, but, for the most part, I suspect it will be self-sustaining.
My planting technique is detailed in a slideshow, but here’s the overview: I picked out an assortment of crocus, chionodoxa, species tulips (sometimes called “wild tulips”), small daffodils and a few hyacinths.
I dug out the entire planting area to a depth of 4-6″, which is fine for most of these small bulbs. I made individual, deeper holes for the hyacinths, which need to be planted at 6-8″.
I planted the hyacinths first, creating random clusters of three bulbs. Then, I made small drifts of two types of daffodils and the species tulips. I filled the gaps with crocus and chionodoxa.
That’s it! The project took less than an hour and I covered about 40 square feet. Now I just sit back and wait for spring.
Couple Leave Their Jobs to Build a Recycled Windows Love Nest

Photographer Nick Olson and fashion designer Lilah Horwitz are a couple who take their dreams very seriously. They have left their daily jobs to build and live in a house made from recycled windows. Their unique glazed dwelling is immersed in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia - at the very same spot where they dreamt about building a home for watching sunsets on their very first date.
To make their dreamlike home and watch the sun set over the mountains, the romantic duo came up with the idea of building the whole facade from windows. That way they will get plenty of natural light in, reducing the need for artificial sources. To get everything they needed they embarked on a road trip collecting dozens of old windows from garage sales and antique dealers around the area.

Just a few weeks after they brought everything they needed to their favorite spot and built their unique woodland home. The rest of the house was made from recycled wood, the furniture is vintage and they even got an old stove for burning wood during the winter. Their brilliant love nest is now complete and it glows during the dark.

Δευτέρα, 2 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

ECO EWOK TREEHOUSES: Finca Bellavista Rainforest Village
by Abigail Doan

If you been dreaming of picking up roots, living on the edge, or literally going out on a limb in terms of eco-lifestyle possibilities, then Finca Bellavista: A Sustainable Rainforest Community might be just the thing for you. Located on the base of an almost 6,000 foot primary rainforest mountain on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica – not far from the Pan American Highway, Finca Bellavista was created with the sole purpose of preserving 300 acres of local rainforest by offering a unique opportunity for ecologically minded property owners to live sustainably in and steward a managed rainforest environment.
With a principle focus of creating a balance between maintaining a fragile habitat for wildlife and using natural resources wisely, Finca Bellavista aims to implement sustainable energy practices such as hydroelectric and solar power, while operating a full-fledged recycling center and a common garden area for the community. This might make it an eco-utopia for some, but for others it’s a possible solution for dovetailing conservation with development.
As per Finca Bellavista‘s guidelines on their website, treehouses in the community must be low-impact, stilt-built or arboreal dwellings that utilize a rainwater catch system to provide water for each unit. Waste that is generated is to be treated with “a cutting-edge technology found in biodigestors”. A “hydroelectric turbine system” will power the entire community. The power grid will run via a system of transformers and underground power cables installed along the horseshoe-shaped main access road that runs throughout the community, producing peak power of 62 kilowatts at the generator leads. The power system at Finca Bellavista will produce clean, sustainable, and extremely reliable power for the community, all the while virtually eliminating any monthly electricity bills for residents.
Fancy a bit of socializing or Tarzan action? Residents can opt for either the community’s system of ground trails or its ‘Sky Trail’ network of zip lines and platforms that deliver them to and from their homes in the rainforest canopy. Missing the outside world? A main parking lot exists at the community’s base area, where high-speed Internet and WIFI are available.

The proprietors state that “these requirements will not only preserve the integrity of the rainforest canopy and its inhabitants, but will also provide an unusual and adventurous lifestyle for human dwellers as well. Imagine waking to the sounds of a tropical bird symphony or catching a zip-line to meet up with friends for a meal or an evening cocktail…” This might be a bit too much of an ewok housing scenario for some, or a real estate development plan that should simply exist as a rainforest preserve, but for now it is on the table as a possibility for how “going native” might be the wave of the future or the cure for what ails us.
Traveller's Guide: Lapland - drive huskies, meet Santa Claus and try to catch the Northern Lights

On the surface, it is illogical – the idea that, just as Europe plunges into winter, anyone would wish to visit the continent's coldest and most remote portions in search of a holiday. Yet the pull of Lapland is undeniable. It is a place of magical, even otherworldly image – a white landscape of frosted forests and iced lakes.
It is not a country, but an area that spreads over the uppermost parts of the Nordic landmass. You might delineate it as Sapmi, the region inhabited by the Sami people crossing the top of Norway, Sweden and Finland, even flowing into Russia.

Lapland is easy to reach from Britain. Norwegian (0843 3780 888; norwegian.com) flies non-stop from Gatwick to Tromso in Norway, with connections to Alta and Kirkenes. Finnair (0870 241 4411; finnair.com) flies via its hub in Helsinki to up-country Finland, including Ivalo, Kuusamo, Rovaniemi and Kittila. And Scandinavian Airlines (0871 226 7760; flysas.co.uk) covers Lulea and Kiruna in Sweden via Stockholm. In addition, charter airlines such as Thomson Airways (0871 231 4787; flights.thomson.co.uk) head to destinations such as Rovaniemi directly.

Chic sleeps in Paris

Hôtel Verneuil, St-Germain-des-Prés
This elegant 17th-century townhouse couldn't be better placed to help you enjoy the quiet delights of Paris. The Musée d'Orsay is a stroll along the Seine, the Louvre is a hop across the Pont du Carrousel and the artsy, independent shops of St-Germain fan out on all sides around the hotel. Having recently changed hands, it has also undergone a renovation with interiors by Charlotte Inchauspé that deftly combine bright flashes of colour, with ancient oak beams and sharp, modern bathrooms.
Hôtel Verneuil, 8 Rue de Verneuil, St-Germain-des-Prés, 7th (00 33 1 42 60 82 14; bit.ly/verneuil). Doubles start at €199, room only.
Hôtel Marignan, Champs-Elysées
This recent addition to the Golden Triangle sits just off the Champs-Elysées. In contrast to the swirl of overpriced cafés and tourist shops nearby, the hotel's interiors are restrained, with neutral shades, clean lines and Mid-Century Modern furniture. Some of the larger suites boast balconies with views of the Eiffel Tower. Hit the bar for champagne cocktails before tucking into classics such as escargots at the restaurant.
Hôtel Marignan, 12 Rue de Marignan, 8th (00 33 1 40 76 34 56; hotelmarignan.fr). Doubles start at €319, B&B.
Hôtel de Nell, Faubourg-Montmartre
Opened this year, the Hôtel de Nell has muted, pared-back interiors by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and a bistro-style restaurant by chef Bruno Doucet. The rooms are largest on the upper levels: the first-floor Classique is snug and sparse, while the fifth-floor Prestige reveals a Japanese bathtub, separate shower and double sinks. Splash out on the top suite to find champagne, chocolates and a long balcony.
Hôtel de Nell, 7-9 Rue du Conservatoire, Faubourg-Montmartre, 9th (00 33 1 44 83 83 60; hoteldenell.com). Doubles start at €400, room only.
Hôtel des Atmosphères, St-Germain-des-Prés
The Hôtel des Atmosphères offers an antidote to the French capital's classic hotels. Step inside to find walls lined with prints by photographer Thierry des Ouche, mismatched mini lampshades dangling overhead and bright fabrics spread about each of the 56 quirky rooms. Algotherm toiletries add a luxury feel, but downstairs the mood is happily informal, with a low-key breakfast room, honesty bar, gym and sauna.
Hôtel des Atmosphères, 31 Rue des Ecoles, St-Germain-des-Prés, 5th (00 33 1 43 26 56 02; hotelatmospheres.com). Doubles start at €180, including breakfast.
Hôtel Armoni, Ternes
Opened in February, the Hôtel Armoni provides luxury digs at an accessible price. The tone is indulgent, with caramel-coloured walls, cream headboards and deep chocolately throws. It's all finished off with black-and-white photos and full-length mirrors, propped up to one side. Beyond the front door, you'll find the Arc de Triomphe and the Palais des Congrès concert hall standing out amid a largely residential neighbourhood.
Hôtel Armoni, 7 Villa Berthier, Porte de Champerret, Ternes, 17th (00 33 1 42 12 44 00; hotelarmoniparis.com). Doubles start at €159, including breakfast.
Hôtel Félicien, Auteuil
Fashion designer Olivier Lapidus is the creative force behind this new haunt in the upmarket 16th arrondissement. Rooms vary from the dark and moody Elegante options to the Silver or White suites on the Sky Floor, which are bathed in light shades, with an outdoor Jacuzzi and deckchairs. The downstairs spa is in partnership with L'Institut du Bac while the Black Bar blends inky interiors with decadent drinks.

Hotel Félicien, 21 Rue Félicien David, Auteuil, 16th (00 33 01 55 74 00 00; hotelfelicienparis.com). Doubles start at €129, room only.